Squash: Jaded Jahangir declares intention to retire

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The Independent Online
JAHANGIR KHAN laboured to victory in his comeback match in the first round of the World Open championship here yesterday and then announced that he would retire at the end of the season. Jahangir, 28, who has won the British Open a record 10 times and the World Open on six occasions, defeated Germany's Hansi Wiens, 15-7, 15-11, 15-7. Afterwards he said: 'It's time to say I will stop.'

Jahangir trailed 7-2, and 11-9 in the second game against the world No 27 and looked broader in the beam than he has ever done before in a tournament. 'I find it very difficult to keep up the training,' he said. 'I keep getting injured and it puts me under pressure all the time. I don't want to risk losing in the first round and it's better to retire before that happens. After all I have a business and a job with Pakistan International Airlines.'

Jahangir said he might compete in the British Open for the last time in April, but on current evidence he is unlikely to have a good chance of extending his record in the event. He has not competed for six months after suffering a back injury and it was a surprise to some that he should consider trying to regain the World Open with no recent match practice at all.

Jahangir was scheduled for a second-round meeting with the British champion, Peter Marshall, but the other English hope Simon Parke lost in straight games to the Australian-born Spanish qualifier, Austin Adarraga.

Earlier Ross Norman, of New Zealand, the player who ended Jahangir's five-and-a-half-year unbeaten run in the 1986 World Open final, came close to elimination in the first round. Norman, the eighth seed, recovered from 8-4 down in the third game and needed to make a skilful attacking push in the final points of the fifth game before beating the Welsh No 1, Adrian Davies, 15-9, 10-15, 15-12, 14-17, 15-10.

It took an hour and 36 minutes before Norman earned his second-round place against Adarraga, and there were several moments when it seemed the New Zealander might not make it.

Some of them occurred after a bizarre argument between Davies and the English referee, Mike Picken, over what had happened at 14-14 in the fourth game. Davies elected, after appearing to change his mind, to play one sudden-death point but Picken thought he had chosen to play up to three points and announced that.

Davies did not challenge Picken's announcement and after taking the next rally to 'win' 15-14, marched boldly out of the court as though he had clinched the fourth game. 'I put up one finger,' Davies claimed, when recalled. 'You put up three,' Picken replied. 'I should have put up two,' Davies responded, promptly doing so. Davies escaped reprimand for his action and Norman recovered to live another day.

It continued to be a dismal session for the British, with Jason Nicolle and Phil Whitlock also going out, and only Del Harris surviving, against Craig van der Wath, the South African national champion.

Whitlock was beaten in straight games by the defending champion, Australia's Rodney Martin, and Nicolle, of Hampshire, the 16th seed, lost to Mark Carlyon, a young Australian qualifier. Surrey's Danny Meddings also lost an to Australian, Brett Martin, the fifth seed.

Harris, the England No 3, who feels aggrieved at being overlooked for the forthcoming Test series against South Africa, has an added incentive this week. 'I want to play particularly well here to show the SRA (Squash Rackets Association) they have made a mistake in dropping me,' he said.